A prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship has been secured by Dr Rachel Humphris, Social Policy Lecturer and IRiS Research Fellow for a three year research project, Welcoming Cities? This is the first international comparative project analysing city-level responses across Canada, UK and USA to national anti-migrant attitudes.
Non-citizens' access to services are increasingly restricted and many face state mandated exclusion from education, healthcare and housing, creating 'internal borders'. Alongside these exclusionary national policies, an outpouring of volunteerism and alternative discourses have emerged to challenge this approach, particularly in cities. The term 'sanctuary movements' has emerged for policies and practices that welcome non-citizens in urban communities.
Balancing a national 'hostile environment' and localised 'sanctuary movement', urban policy-makers and frontline bureaucrats make life-changing decisions about non-citizens' access to the welfare state. Welcoming Cities? examines sanctuary movements in a historical and comparative perspective through in-depth empirical research. The project will work towards a theory of urban sanctuary, uncovering its key elements and how they interact with securitised social policies across different national contexts. The project aims to contribute to growing literature on global migration governance; citizenship in liberal democracies undergoing rapid demographic change; and global urbanisation.